A VAST private sculpture park showcasing work by some of Britain’s leading artists on a country estate near Edinburgh Airport is set to be turned into a virtual reality experience.
Within months an entire “digital world” inspired by the dozens of works at Jupiter Artland will be available to explore via the hugely popular video game Minecraft.
Painstaking work has been carried out to digitally map the private collection of Robert and Nicky Wilson, who opened the award-winning attraction on their 100-acre estate seven years ago. Now their Jupiter Artland Foundation charity has teamed up with design experts at Edinburgh Napier University to launch the “digital Lego” version of the attraction.
Maps, photographs, geological studies, a GoPro camera and even a drone were deployed by final-year design student Agnieszka Banach to produce an “immersive digital experience”, which will be launched at the Edinburgh International Science Festival.
Work by the likes of Antony Gormley, Charles Jencks, Andy Goldsworthy, Nathan Coley, Jim Lambie and Cornelia Parker are being recreated for the venture, which is expected to help promote the sculpture park around the world. Players will also be able to create their own worlds inspired by the real-life art trail created amid the woodland and meadows.
Pupils from nearby Ratho Primary School, who are among the 10,000 youngsters to visit the attraction every year, have been testing out the “3D facsimile” version of Jupiter Artland in recent months.
It has been developed after previous projects with the university’s Centre for Interactive Design to develop an audio guide, then an interactive mobile app, for visitors to help navigate Jupiter Artland.
Helena Barrett, education officer at Jupiter Artland, said: “We’re really interested in the digital development side of things here. It can really help to engage with a wider audience, especially younger people who can be harder to reach.
“Minecraft is hugely popular among children under the age of ten. It basically allows them to create their own world from scratch.
“The children who come here are always asking us if they can use it to build Jupiter Artland, so this is a very exciting project. When we launch the project it will be able to be used in two ways. People can either just go around Jupiter Artland using Minecraft, but there will also be a way to build and continue the work.”
Tom Flint, programme leader of the interactive media design course, said: “Jupiter Artland has a mission that every child in Scotland should be able to experience it. The next stage of this project will be to find out whether a Minecraft version of Jupiter Artland is enough of an experience for them to get as much out of as they do when they visit.”